Posted on Sep 02, 2015, 6 a.m.
A lower ankle-brachial index score, a marker of lifetime cumulative exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, may signal mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate state between normal cognitive aging and dementia. Because many people with MCI do not progress to Alzheimer’s or dementia, prevention of MCI is a promising public health strategy. Christian Weimar, from the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), and colleagues studied data collected on 490 participants of the 4,086 men and women enrolled in the Heinz Nixdorf Recall cohort study. Thee selected subjects (249 had amnestic MCI and 241 had non-amnestic MCI) were diagnosed with MCI during the course of the study; they were compared with 1,242 cognitively normal participants. The team observed that MCI occurred significantly more often in individuals diagnosed with a lower ankle brachial index (ABI), a marker of generalized atherosclerosis and thus cumulative exposure to cardiovascular risk factors during lifetime. Examination of differences by gender revealed a stronger association of a decreasing ankle-brachial index with non-amnestic MCI in women. The study authors observe that: “Our data show that the degree of generalized atherosclerosis as measured by the [ankle-brachial index] is associated with [mild cognitive impairment] and with [non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment] in a population-based cohort.”
Weimar, Christian; Winkler, Angela; Dlugaj, Martha; Lehmann, Nils; Hennig, Frauke; Bauer, Marcus; et al. “Ankle-Brachial Index but Neither Intima Media Thickness Nor Coronary Artery Calcification Is Associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment..” J Alz Dis., July 2015,